Overheard conversation:

Young daughter to father, while pushing her small hand against his belly: “You need to get some exercise. You’re out of shape!”

Mini Collage #31, “Round Up” cSylvia Robertson, 2017

Father to daughter: “I’m not out of shape. Round is a shape!”

What kind of shape are you “in”— or “into” right now?

Round seems to be the shape I often fixated on during my “31 Days”—er, I mean 29.

(Admittedly, I have no Day #29 or 30. But I excuse myself—like the above dad—by pleading a late start. As for the 31 collages promised: Delivered, as pre-announced! You can go back and count…)

Anyhow, I realize in retrospect that rounded forms caught my attention and dominated the design in six more of those 31 collages. These:

Mini Collage # “Cut and Flip, Round” cSylvia Robertson, 2017
Mini Collage #15, “A Beautiful Ride” cSylvia Robertson, 2017
Mini Collage #11, “Round on the Ground” cSylvia Robertson, 2017
Mini Collage #5, “Be Like the Bird…” cSylvia Robertson, 2017
Mini Collage #9, “Fleur de Free” cSylvia Robertson, 2017
Mini Collage #4, “We Sail Through Time” cSylvia Robertson, 2017

In addition, circles or rounded forms play an important part in all of these (ten more):

Mini Collage #23, “Only Words”        cSylvia Robertson, 2017
Mini Collage #7, “Rocking Chair Care” cSylvia Robertson, 2017
Mini Collage #14, “Inward Exploration” cSylvia Robertson, 2017
Mini Collage #2, “On Being Transparent” cSylvia Robertson, 2017
Mini Collage #19, “On Being Transparent, 2 cSylvia Robertson, 2017
Mini Collage #3, “Birds and Dragon Flies” cSylvia Robertson, 2017
Mini Collage #8 “Which Way is Out?” cSylvia Robertson, 2017
Mini Collage # 12, “Books and Bottles” cSylvia Robertson, 2017
Mini Collage #1 “Swishy Skirt Fishies” cSylvia Robertson, 2017
Mini Collage #1o, “Let’s Not Play Crazy Games” cSylvia Robertson, 2017

We could even stretch it and say the hearts are very rounded in this one…

Mini Collage #25, “Lovelights and Blues” cSylvia Robertson, 2017

and the distant umbrellas in this one, though technically octagons, look very like circles…

Mini Collage #16, “Got it Made in the Shade” cSylvia Robertson, 2017

And oh, yes, the flowers dominating this foreground are round, aren’t they?

Mini Collage #22, “Birds in Lush Growth” cSylvia Robertson, 2017

That would make 20 out of 31. Almost 2/3! No other particular shape predominates so much.

Is this important? Maybe. I need to ponder it more myself as I review all of these.

The thing is, collage—like any expressive art form—can show us things about our inner thoughts, feelings, and desires that we might not have noticed. Sometimes contemplating it helps uncover obscured issues we need to work with—therapeutically, or as a means of setting and assessing goals that match our inner climate.

At the silent retreat I attended last January, in an optional “creative journaling” session, we attendees were asked to draw a shape: without overthinking, just draw whatever our hand happened to put down on the page before us.

We were then invited to consider why we chose it, and what thoughts and feelings it seemed to conjure as we gazed at it. Then anyone who wanted to share their reflections could do so.

Someone displayed a triangle, sharing thoughts it brought to her mind, someone else an elongated rectangle. Me? I felt like the odd man out. It seemed all the others had chosen a simple geometrical form. I had drawn, and kept retracing, a free-form label-less rounded shape. I felt somehow embarrassed, like the kid who thinks she “didn’t do it right” because her product seems so different.

When considering what might have prompted me to choose it, I felt reticent, shy, embarrassed. After returning to my room, I thought, oh, this is silly, rumpled the paper and tossed it into the wastebasket. But after thinking about it more later, I ended up retrieving it and flattening it out on the tabletop, smoothing with my hands. Emerging from my mind were reminders of a deep disappointment in my life. Soon I was realizing here was something well worth bringing before God during my retreat.

I know I’m not revealing my innermost thoughts here, but that would take some time, be deeply personal, and involve other people who wouldn’t appreciate being the subject of a public forum blog post. Also, as they say, “it’s complicated,” and I still need to give it, and all these rounded patterns, some further pondering.

So, this 31st mini collage rounds up this series. I not only “feel” finished, but I’ve already started working on a new challenge for November: to write a 50,000 word “novel” before December.

I may even illustrate it with collage—or with that shape from January’s retreat—because what I’ve begun writing is bound to touch on the subject revealed in my heart.

***

What about you? Want to try it? Just take any old piece of paper, and any old drawing implement, and draw the first shape your hand finds itself making. And ponder: Why did I do that? What was I thinking, and feeling, down deep inside? Should I take this before God? Better yet, start by asking God to reveal anything important before you draw.

*****

Previous posts in this series:

Day 1 Mini Collage and 31-Days Introduction

Day 2 Collage: Nothing-But-Junk Fish

Day 3 Collage: What Grabs Your Heart?

Day 4 Collage: Why I Chose to do this 31 Days–Really

Day 5 Collages: On Being Transparent

Day 6 Collage: Salute to Birds and Dragonflies

Day 7 Collage: Got it Made in the Shade

Collage Day 8: Three Good Children’s Books to Inform Our Lives

Day 9 Collage: Smiles, Smiles (What Makes You Smile?)

Day 10 Collage: Which Way is Out?

Day 11 Collage: Rugged Rocks or Rugs?

Day 12 (non-junk-mail)  Collage: “Be Like the Bird…”

Lovelights and Blues (Day 13 Collage)

Day 14 Collage: “Fleur de Free” (Extended Cut Shape Technique)

Day 15 Collage: The Beauty of Serenity

Day 16: Two Collages, Just for the Enjoyment

Day 17 Collage Talk: “Only Words”

Day 18 Collage: Broken Hearts Can Soar

Day 19 Collage: Collage as Therapy? (Plus Cut-and-Fold-Back Technique)

Day 20 Collage: A Beautiful Ride

Day 21 Collage: Birds in Lush Growth

Day 22 Collage: Hope

Day 23 Collage: Start Something New Before Finishing the Now

Collage Day 24: Eight Women and an Unseen Guest

Collage Day 25: Sailing Through 31 Days (Or Any Other Commitment)

Collage Day 26: What Do You Do With a Mistake?

Day 27 Collage: Crazy Games

Day 28 Collage: Abstract

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